Another year is in the books, which means it’s time for our annual recap of soccer on U.S. TV! 2021 proved to be a great year for soccer viewing with almost 3,000 games featuring nearly 800 different teams across more than 30 channels. Want more insight into the year that was? Check out our full recap of 2021 below.
TV bounces back from down year
After a down year as a direct result of pandemic where leagues were halted for all of April and much of May and many competitions were postponed or canceled, the soccer world came back in full force in 2021 – and the numbers reflect this.
Despite leagues like Serie A predominantly shifting to streaming platforms for their 2021/22 season, there were almost 3,000 soccer games broadcast on network, cable, or satellite TV channels. Over 30 networks showed at least two games in 2021, from CNBC (2) to TUDN (700+).
In all, there were, by our count, over 4,600 individual broadcasts of soccer games on TV. If that doesn’t blow your mind, I’m not sure what will. Spanish-language broadcasts accounted for roughly 55% of these broadcasts, down ever-so-slightly from 2020.
Soccer on U.S. TV almost every day of the year
If the total number of individual broadcasts didn’t make you go, “Whoa,” perhaps this will. In 2021, there were only six – yes, six – days without a soccer game available for viewing on TV. That means for 359 days of the year you could have turned on the TV and seen leagues from Ecuador to Turkey and Australia to Canada right from the comfort of your home. With just under 3,000 total games featured over the course of the year, that means, on average, there were over eight games broadcasted per day in 2021.
What soccer competitions were available to watch?
With Spanish-language broadcasts outnumbering those in English, you likely won’t be surprised to learn that Liga MX was the most-featured league in 2021 with roughly 100 more games available than the Premier League, the second-most featured league.
The third most-broadcasted league or competition? Women’s college soccer was heavily featured on the Big Ten Network, Pac-12 Network, and SEC Network. La Liga, despite its move to ESPN+ for the 2021/22 season and the Portuguese Premeira Liga were fourth and fifth, respectively. Both accumulated broadcasts on beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS Español.
When you remove international competitions that shift hosts each occurrence, like the Olympics or FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, European-based competitions were responsible for 41% of all broadcasts. North American-based competitions, thanks to Liga MX, college soccer, MLS, and Liga MX Femenil, represented 40% of broadcasted competitions with South American-based competitions, roughly 17%, represented third most.
What about streaming?
This is an obvious question, right? So much of the sports world has moved to streaming and soccer has been a major piece of this shift. Here’s the challenge. Almost every single soccer game is available across ESPN+, Paramount Plus, fuboTV, Peacock, BTN+, and so on, which makes tracking this information infinitely more challenging.
If there were over 4,600 TV broadcasts for soccer in 2021, there may easily have been over 10,000 streaming broadcasts. This is why we’ve chosen, at least for now, to limit our deep dive exclusively to network, cable, and satellite television.
This remains one of our favorite insights topics annually and we’ve been tracking for over a decade, now. If you like our 2021 recap and want to see more, see some of the previous recaps below.
- Soccer on U.S. TV – 2020 Year in Review
- 2019 Soccer on U.S. TV – Year in Review
- 2018 Soccer on U.S. TV – Year in Review
- 2017 Soccer on U.S. TV – Year in Review
- 2016 Soccer on U.S. TV – Year in Review
- 2015 Soccer on U.S. TV – Year in Review